State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) will air his first TV ad in his campaign for governor next week. An advance look at the commercial, which focuses on term limits, a flat tax and cutting spending, can be seen here:
Rick or Bubba? Who received more write-in votes for Alabama’s senator?
More than 20,000 write-in votes were cast on Dec. 12 for Alabama’s special Senate election, along with the expected names of Luther Strange and Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
Republicans Martha Roby (Montgomery), Bradley Byrne (Mobile), Mike Rogers (Tuskegee), Robert Aderholt (Gadsden) and Gary Palmer (Vestavia Hills) all received votes to be Alabama’s next senator.
Of the delegation, Roby claimed the most with at least 15 votes.
Birmingham radio hosts Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey both received several votes.
While Bussey earned 5 votes, Burgess was the choice of the duo with 7 votes.
Dianne Bentley, ex-wife of former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in April over allegations of finance and ethics violations, beat out her former husband 4 votes to 2.
Will pro-life advocates in Alabama put their money where their mouth is to make an actual difference for women?
Voters in Alabama have great concern for the unborn. After Tuesday’s special election, many feel anguish over the loss of a reliably pro-life Senate seat, which could affect federal judicial appointments over the next several years. Without judges who respect the right of states to regulate abortion, pro-life voters feel especially helpless to defend the unborn.
Yet, amidst much discussion of the issue, I feel compelled to share the irony of my experience working with an Alabama pregnancy resource center, where converting pro-life advocates to pregnancy center donors is a sobering challenge. This reality has been, frankly, especially difficult to reconcile with the fervor on display in recent weeks.
While the political system in America will always have consequences for the unborn, it seems many advocates have overlooked opportunities and responsibilities that exist in our own backyard.
Consider Tuscaloosa Sav-a-Life, which operates across the parking lot from the state’s busiest abortion facility. In the clinic, dedicated staff and volunteers offer: pregnancy tests and ultrasounds; prenatal and parenting education; essential baby supplies (even into the toddler years); and post-abortive counseling for those who seek it—all free of charge. Most important, workers share the gospel and compassion of Jesus Christ. The clinic stays booked and does everything possible to accommodate walk-ins.
Sadly, the only thing preventing the clinic from accepting additional clients is a lack of funding. We need a nurse manager, as well as another ultrasound machine and sonographer. We would like to open five days a week, offer more services, advertise more effectively, and retain or recruit staff with more competitive salaries. But without increased financial support, these goals cannot be attained.
Political candidates find no shortage of voters willing to finance their campaign or advocate their candidacy. But for those of us who believe, according to Scripture, that every individual is created in the image of God and is known to Him long before birth, it is a tragic and misguided mistake to place all our hope in men—flawed, by nature—who hold or seek office in a terribly broken political system.
Spending even one day in a pregnancy resource center affirms that unborn babies and their mothers are best served by face-to-face acts of service. Moreover, it makes clear that even if Roe v. Wade were reversed tomorrow, there is a deeper human need that cannot be met by government restrictions or programs alone.
This is not to dismiss the convictions of pro-life voters but to implore each of us to look beyond the ballot box. There are a number of pregnancy resource centers in Alabama: Find one and support it. Talk to the leaders of your church or civic organization about becoming a financial partner. Include one in your personal year-end giving. A donation of any amount will have an immediate impact.
Many mothers and fathers in our communities face unplanned pregnancies. By supporting organizations that exist to serve their needs, we can do more in one year to protect and preserve the sanctity of life than Washington will do in a lifetime.
Brooke Bacak is a guest contributor for the Alabama Policy Institute (API). Brooke is an expert in various public policy areas, having spent seven years of her career in Washington D.C. serving as policy advisor to several Republican members of the U.S. Senate, including Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Jon Kyl, and Senator Tom Coburn. Brooke and her husband reside in Tuscaloosa with their three children.
WATCH: Birmingham voters share surprising thoughts about Senate election
Elisabeth Chramer of Yellowhammer News spoke with voters outside The Church at Brook Hills polling precinct in the Birmingham-area to find out how voters felt about the ballot candidates, the national media attention, and what they wish the rest of the country knew about Alabama.
Roy Moore urges Alabamians to ‘vote their conscience’
The rural community of Gallant saw the mounted arrival of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla this morning at around 10:30 a.m.
The couple’s polling place was much more crowded than in recent elections due to large numbers of people.
Moore briefly answered questions after casting his ballot, not showing immediate concern that he may face a Senate investigation or expulsion as a future possibility.
“We’ll take those problems up when we get to the Senate, when we win,” he said.
For fellow Alabamians heading to the polls, Moore states that “they ought to go out and vote their conscience and we’ll have a tremendous turnout. The nation is watching this…. It’s a very important race for our country, for our state and the future.”
WATCH: Huntsville voters share strong feelings about election and Roy Moore
It was a cold, blustery day in northern Alabama, but that didn’t stop voters from pouring into polling precincts to vote in Tuesday’s special election.
Voters in the Huntsville-area spoke with Yellowhammer News about how they voted, how they feel about the election and what they think about Roy Moore.
Video Credit: Jacob Woods
How this conservative Alabamian voted this morning
I didn’t vote for Roy Moore because I believe at least some of those allegations are credible.
I didn’t vote for Doug Jones, either, because he supports what any just man would call infanticide.
And no, I didn’t waste it on a write-in candidate.
I did what I’ve done in every general election since I was 20-years old – I voted to advance the conservative movement by darkening the circle beside the Alabama Republican Party and voting a straight ticket.
My vote indeed went into Moore’s column, although indirectly, but he’s not what caused me to stand in line this cold morning and vote.
I voted to maintain the GOP’s majority in the U.S. Senate.
I voted to confirm judges and justices who’ll uphold the constitution.
But more than anything else, I voted for life … for the millions of unborn children who the Democratic Party has sacrificed on the altar of electoral expediency, and the millions more who’ll die because of that party’s callous indifference to the most innocent and vulnerable among us.
When I took my ballot and sat down to vote, I wasn’t thinking about the liberal media or Obamacare or tax cuts or foreign policy or immigration … or even Roy Moore.
I was thinking about how this nation treats unborn children, and how Doug Jones supports a law that every month allows thousands of them to be poisoned in their mother’s womb, have their little arms and legs ripped apart, before they are then thrown in the garbage.
That must stop.
That. Must. Stop.
So yes, I have twisted myself into a mental pretzel of rationalization this morning. That’s fair criticism, and I’m not happy about my vote in the slightest. In fact, I’m upset about this whole election, from the primary to the run-off and especially the general.
But even in the midst of this frustration, I’m not going to stand silent while Doug Jones supporters tell me that my vote went to someone who thought it was OK to hit on teenagers when he was in his 30s (awful).
Maybe it did.
But theirs went to a guy who thinks it’s OK to kill unborn babies (reprehensible).
I’ll wrestle with the moral implications of my vote for years.
(Agree? Disagree? Take this article over to social media and start a conversation with your family and friends)
Yellowhammer Publisher: ‘There’s only one choice for conservatives in Alabama Senate race’
The following editorial reflects the views of Yellowhammer Multimedia ownership.
Tomorrow’s special election for the United States Senate was supposed to have been a mere formality for the Republican nominee. And, yet, this election has turned our state into a center of controversy and the object of scorn directed at Alabama voters from those outside of the state’s border.
Our readers have flooded us with messages of confusion, dismay, dissatisfaction, anger and resolve. Many of those feelings we share with them, particularly the attacks on Christian conservatives. We care about Christian conservatives because that is who we are. When we see attacks aimed at our friends, neighbors and readers, and an election with so much at stake, we feel compelled to speak up.
As a news outlet, we have not been afraid to wade into the controversy surrounding Roy Moore. We believe many of the things the women have said. We also believe some of the allegations have been credibly refuted. One woman has admitted that she falsified certain parts of the evidence that she put forth. Forty years is a long time. The uncomfortable reality in a situation like this is that memories fade and recollections become foggy. Many aspects of our justice system reflect that reality.
The validity of these claims aside, our disappointment with Moore centers primarily on his handling of the allegations. He initially acknowledged that he had known some of the women but nothing inappropriate occurred. Then he changed his story. Perhaps he made the political calculation that a full on denial of anything and everything was the path to victory. In our estimation, that amounted to unnecessary deception.
Moore has been the object of intense scrutiny for more than two decades. Liberal groups who think that the words “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” should mean something other than what they do have fought him relentlessly for years. They have spent millions of their Hollywood-elite dollars to oppose him. During that time, nothing along the lines of these allegations has ever surfaced. And we are also encouraged by the fact that certain social norms acceptable forty years ago have dissolved for the better.
None of this has stopped the attacks. Attacks on our state, our citizens and our beliefs.
At the end of the day, regardless of the circumstances 40 years ago, we’re not going to defend the actions of Roy Moore back then or his evasiveness during this special election. If the allegations are true, they are simply reprehensible. However, we’ll default to the position of our country’s forefathers and conclude that a man is innocent until proven guilty.
Either way, we’re with you Senator Shelby, Alabama does deserve better. Our hope is that when this seat is open again in 2020 that a conservative all Alabamians can be proud of will emerge. The problem is, right now, there is so much more at stake than simply Roy Moore.
By every true measure, President Donald Trump has governed conservatively – just as the vast majority of the voters in our state expected he would. One of his first acts was to nominate Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General. He has fixed the job-killing and tyrannical regulatory mess at agencies like the Department of Energy, the EPA, the CFPB and the FCC. He has nominated conservative judges who are committed to upholding the Constitution at every level of the federal judiciary. President Trump has shown the fortitude to implement foreign policy recognizing America’s values and protecting our interests as evidenced by the dismantling of ISIS. Just last week he ordered our embassy in Israel moved to its rightful place in Jerusalem. He has also pushed through what will be the most comprehensive tax reform package in years. There is even more work to be done.
Those opposing Roy Moore have tried to float the idea that write-in votes are an acceptable choice. They are not. There are two choices tomorrow: Roy Moore or Doug Jones. There are only two men from whom you can choose to support President Trump’s agenda and represent our values in the United States Senate. And be sure about this, conservatives who choose to sit this one out are, in fact, choosing a candidate. A non-vote on Tuesday is a vote for Doug Jones.
Roy Moore will support President Trump’s agenda. Moore will protect unborn children, help repeal Obamacare and guarantee that Trump’s conservative judicial nominees get confirmation. Jones will not. Moore will vote similarly to how Jeff Sessions voted. Jones will not.
This is why we are all being attacked. They resent our faith and our values. This is also why we urge you to vote for Roy Moore in tomorrow’s election.
Owner & Publisher
WATCH: Strange bids farewell in Senate address
Sen. Luther Strange addressed his fellow senators for the final time Thursday.
“After nearly a year in this chamber, I am both its newest member and the next to depart. As such, I have both the optimisim of a young student and the battle scars of a man in the arena.”
Strange offered this praise of his Alabama role models:
“Together, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby represent the finest Alabama has to offer to our nation. Following in their footsteps here in the Senate is an honor I will forever treasure.”
Read the entire speech below and watch the video here:
Senator Luther Strange Dec. 7 Farewell Address:
Mr. President, I rise today to address my colleagues for the last time. After nearly a year in this chamber, I am both its newest member and the next to depart. As such, I have both the optimism of a young student and the battle scars of a man in the arena. Today, I’d like to offer my colleagues some observations from the perspective of my unique circumstances.
My fellow Senators and I come from different places. We were raised differently, and we have lived differently. In coming to serve in the world’s greatest deliberative body, we have carried and tested different notions of America.
There is, however, one reality that transcends our individual experiences. In this room, we are each humbled by history. The Senate has been a forum for some of the great debates of our Republic. It has shaped, and been shaped by, citizen legislators from every state of the Union. We are awed by the strength of an institution that has weathered great challenges, and the wisdom of those who first envisioned it.
As I rise today in that spirit, I’d like to shed light on a page of Senate history that bears great significance in our current political climate.
Mr. President, across the hall behind you is a space known as the Marble Room. In a building that is home to so many breathtaking historic sights, this alcove has a singular beauty, and a story worth telling.
As part of the 1850s expansion of the Senate’s chambers, the Marble Room began as a public gathering place, and has been frequented over the decades by politicians and protesters alike. When the Union army camped on the grounds of the Capitol during the Civil War, soldiers even used its fireplaces for cooking.
For over sixty years, the Marble Room was steeped in the life of the American citizen. It hosted meetings with advocates, constituents, and the free press. It became a very tangible example of our nation’s experiment in representative government.
In March, 1921, it took on a new, equally important purpose. The space was reserved by the Rules Committee as an escape for Senators from the crowded halls of the Capitol, and the windowless, smoke-filled rooms where they often gathered off the floor.
It became the place where Senators of all stripes would come to catch their breath and take their armor off. Some would nap, some would eat lunch, and all would end up forming bonds that rose above politics.
Today, the Marble Room is nearly always empty. This emptiness symbolizes something that worries me about today’s politics. It is likely both a symptom and a cause of the partisan gridlock that often dominates this chamber.
But the story of that room – the interplay between citizen and institution; between pragmatism and principle – is the story of the Senate, and in some ways the story of republican government in America.
Mr. President, what was once an incubator for collegiality and bipartisanship has become a glaring reminder of the divisions that we have allowed to distract us from the business of the American people.
We each remain humbled by the history of the Marble Room. We stand in awe of the traditions of this hallowed body. But too often we fail to let this history be our guide through today’s political challenges.
Mr. President, my time in the Senate has reinforced for me what it means to balance principle and pragmatism, to serve the people of my state honorably, and it has taught me how to navigate the turbulent waters of Washington.
I imagine that our predecessors who spent time together in the Marble Room wrestled with similar questions. After all, the issues we face today are not all that different. This body has been strained before – it has bent, but not broken.
Finding lasting solutions to our nation’s problems does not require reinventing the wheel. Our forefathers have done it before, and they’ve done it right across the hall.
Mr. President, I spent my early years growing up in Sylacauga, Alabama, about 40 miles outside of Birmingham. My first hometown is known as “the Marble City” for the swath of high-quality stone it sits on, 32 miles long and as much as 600 feet deep.
Sylacauga marble is widely recognized for its pure white color and fine texture, and here in Washington, we are surrounded by it. It is set into the ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial, the halls of the Supreme Court, and was used by renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum to create the bust of Abraham Lincoln on display in the crypt downstairs.
Sylacauga marble is used in places infused with tradition and deep history. It is used to enshrine important landmarks. It ensures that memories of the past will stand the test of time to inform the decisions of the future.
In a small house in the Marble City, I was raised by a family that instilled in me a deep and abiding reverence for history and tradition.
My father was a Navy veteran and my only uncle, a West Point graduate killed in service during World War II, was actually born on the 4th of July.
As you can imagine, Mr. President, I didn’t need fireworks or parades to understand the significance of our Independence Day – the look in my mother’s eyes as she remembered her brother’s birthday was enough.
Forged in service and sacrifice, my family understood the blessing of living in America, and the price of passing its freedoms on to the next generation.
Thanks to this generation before me – the greatest generation – I grew up strong in Alabama. At a young age, I was introduced to the Boy Scouts of America. From volunteer troop leaders to the older scouts I would look to as examples, the Boy Scouts created an environment of selfless service. As a Scout, I learned to appreciate the institutions of American society, and my role as a citizen.
By age thirteen, I was an Eagle Scout traveling to Washington on a school trip to see this great experiment in representative government up close. As I tell every young person who has visited my office this year, that experience gave me an appreciation of the value of public service.
Mr. President, I often wonder, if we all approached our duties here with the unblemished optimism of a young student on a field trip, whether we couldn’t accomplish more in Congress.
Of course, the strength of this body and the remarkable foresight of our Founders run deeper than an elementary school civics class. For me, the next pivotal moment came as an undergraduate at Tulane University in the spring and summer of 1973.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that I played basketball in college. In between practice and part-time jobs, I found time to watch the newly-formed Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities begin its investigation of the Watergate scandal.
In that moment, our nation stepped into uncharted territory. The strength of our Constitution was tested like never before. Would the pursuit of justice overcome politics? Would the institution of the Presidency be forever changed? What are the responsibilities of citizens of a republic, when the republic’s institutions are tested?
It was during that spring semester of 1973 that I began to understand the tremendous power of the rule of law. It is guarded by representatives who swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
When my basketball playing years ran out, it was this realization that led me to go to law school. My new game would be learning the ins and outs of this system that ensured the rights our Founders envisioned. My new team would be my fellow students, who would go on to practice law and serve our nation at all levels of government.
Mr. President, as so many of our colleagues know, the path from practicing law to writing it is well-traveled. I was fortunate to travel it with the help of some of Alabama’s finest public servants.
As a young attorney, I first met one of them for breakfast in the cafeteria of the Department of Justice. When I realized I had forgotten my wallet, he paid for my meal. Jeff Sessions has continued to pay it forward to this day as a dear friend and mentor of mine.
Mr. President, Jeff Sessions is both a gracious statesman and a man of principle. It is not far-fetched to say that some of this temperament rubbed off on him from our state’s senior Senator, Richard Shelby.
Over thirty years ago, I was introduced to then-Congressman Shelby by my friend, former Secretary of the Senate Joe Stewart. As a young lawyer, I learned from a man fast-becoming a legendary legislator. He would become one of my most treasured friends, sharing many days hunting together in the fields of Alabama and elsewhere, and many more stories shared here in the halls of the Capitol.
Together, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby represent the finest Alabama has to offer to our nation. Following in their footsteps here in the Senate is an honor I will forever treasure.
The example of these men inspired me to get involved in public service. As the Attorney General of Alabama, and Senators, they approached elected office with an unparalleled reverence for the rule of law.
I spoke earlier about the balance of pragmatism and principle, and in doing so I had my friends in mind. When I was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 2010, I drew heavily on their examples of principled conservative leadership.
Mr. President, in this body we are too often convinced that standing for deeply-held principles is incompatible with pragmatism. In the six years I served as Attorney General, I learned that this could not be further from the truth.
Serving my state in that capacity required balance above all else. I had an obligation to the people of Alabama who elected me to fight for the conservative victories they were counting on. I also had a solemn duty to rise above politics and follow the law and the truth wherever they led.
Make no mistake – during my two terms as Attorney General, I took every opportunity to defend the Constitution, the rule of law, and the people of Alabama against federal government overreach.
Together with other state Attorneys General, I worked to protect farmers and ranchers from an EPA rule that would turn puddles in their fields into federally-regulated ecosystems. We stood up against threats to religious liberty and the Second Amendment, and took the fight over an illegal executive amnesty program all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On these, and many other issues, we stood for the rule of law and we won.
So, Mr. President, I don’t have to prove my commitment to conservative principles.
At the same time, I have a record of upholding the rule of law even when my own party goes astray. I have the scars to show for it. Over my six years in the state capitol of Montgomery, I assembled a nationally-renowned team of prosecutors behind a common goal: to root out public corruption.
This pursuit led to the convictions of several corrupt public officials in the state of Alabama, including a county sheriff complicit in human trafficking – the first successful prosecution of its kind in decades.
My team took on Alabama’s Republican Speaker of the House for ethics violations, leading to his removal from office and a prison sentence. As you might imagine, we didn’t make many friends in the political establishment by doing so, but we shored up public trust in our representative government.
For their commitment to fighting public corruption, my team has been recognized by the National Association of Attorneys General as a gold standard. I’ve personally had the opportunity to address my former colleagues from both sides of aisle who are focusing on the same goal in their own states. More than any fleeting partisan achievement, it is work like this of which I am the most proud.
When faced with crises, we rose to a calling higher than politics. After the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 decimated communities and ecosystems along the Gulf Coast, I was appointed by the Court as coordinating counsel for the Gulf Coast states in the historic litigation. My team won the trial and negotiated a $2.3 billion dollar settlement for the state of Alabama.
Our work on the spill case built consensus and found common ground. It brought together the interests of fiscal conservatives and environmental advocates, and we delivered results because it was the right thing to do. While victims of the Alaska spill in 1989 waited 22 years for settlement, the Attorney General’s office delivered justice and set a gold standard for responding quickly and effectively to the needs of Gulf Coast communities.
After all, Mr. President, the institutions our founders laid out in the Constitution are only as strong as the people’s belief in their strength. When America no longer trusts that its representatives are remaining true to their oaths, the entire system loses its value.
As the most recent Senator to take the oath, I remember the feeling of the Bible under my left hand. I remember reflecting on a verse it contains that has brought me peace in times of challenge. Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
I remember raising my right hand, here in the well where so many others have gone before – many of whom likely found it difficult to discern what exactly the Lord’s purpose was in that moment.
Each of them came to this body in the face of significant national challenges. Some faced violent conflict, others an economic crisis.
Our forebears would not be surprised by the issues before this body today. But I do believe they would be surprised, and discouraged, by the emptiness of the Marble Room.
Mr. President, the policy challenges we face are not new ones. This body debates a budget resolution every single year. Many years, it also faces questions of war and conflict overseas. At least once every decade or so, it faces some tectonic crisis of the economy.
As a lifelong student of history, I am reassured by stories of the grave crises that have been addressed on this very floor. In this chamber, the post-Civil War Senate ensured that the nation stayed the course of healing and reunification. In this chamber, the Senate put politics aside to defeat the rise of fascism in Europe, and guided the creation of a new 20th century world order.
On this floor, long-overdue support for civil rights was won, vote by vote. This struggle is held vividly in the memory of my home state. In the early 1960s, my elementary school outside Birmingham was segregated. By 1971, I was taking the court with three young black men – teammates, classmates and friends – to play for the state basketball championship.
As our nation evolves, the traditions and history of the Senate demand that this institution meet each new challenge, armed with the will of the American people.
And as I watched with the rest of the country, it was on this floor that the Senate restored faith in our institutions by delivering justice after Watergate.
The idea that the chaos and upheaval that we see today are somehow unique falls flat in the face of monumental history. Pundits and politicians alike are too quick to speak in superlatives, but chaos and change are nothing new.
The Senate was designed to endure, and rooms of marble are built to last.
Studying Senate history puts the issues of today in perspective, but it also sheds light on the true challenge of our generation – a newer, more serious threat to the future of this institution and its traditions.
You see, the Senate was designed to accommodate conflict and profound disagreement. It was not, however, designed to tolerate the entrenched factionalism that dominates today’s proceedings. It was not designed for the people’s representatives to hunker down in private rooms, emerging only long enough to cast votes.
There are a hundred seats in this chamber. Each was contested and hard-earned, but they are rarely all occupied. The cameras likely don’t show it from this angle, but many of them before me today are empty.
The less time we spend in the same room, the easier it becomes to view our colleagues on the other side of the aisle as obstacles instead of opportunities.
What do I mean by opportunities?
Mr. President, our generation of leaders will be judged by history on whether we strove to heal the divisions of this body and our nation. In pursuit of that goal, every member of this body is an opportunity to grow in understanding.
And yet, compromise has become a dirty word in American politics, and it’s a serious threat to our hopes of advancing meaningful policy.
It seems that reasonable Americans understand what we are called to do better than we do. A farmer in Alabama once told me that “if my wife sends me to the store to buy a dozen eggs and there are only a half dozen left, I’ll come home with a half dozen.”
On this floor, we have the power to bring home a half dozen eggs, and even make it a dozen for the American people. We have the power to be a profound force for good.
After all, compromise was baked into the Founders’ design. At the heart of our system of checks and balances is an understanding that no one branch, and certainly no one partisan faction, will get everything it wants, all the time.
From the very beginning, compromise allowed our nation to embrace both the republicanism of Thomas Jefferson and the federalism of Alexander Hamilton. The very structure of this body is a result of the Connecticut Compromise of 1787, which accommodated proponents of both equal and proportional representation.
The authors of this pragmatic solution, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, are depicted on the wall outside this chamber, not far from the Marble Room, where their example of finding common ground would be practiced for years to come.
Mr. President, in the shadow of these founding debates, political voices today are arguing louder and louder about smaller and smaller things. It is easy for those outside this chamber to insist that they know what should be done. As long as we remain so deeply divided, these outside voices will always win.
When I leave the Senate, I hope to have lived up to the words of a different voice. On April 23, 1910, in a time of change, as the United States was coming to define a new world order, President Teddy Roosevelt delivered a now-famous message, which bears repeating:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Here today, our nation faces challenges like it did during Watergate 43 years ago, and like it did in the time of Roosevelt 107 years ago. When we have each left this great body, I know we would like to be remembered as men and women in the arena – as people who spent themselves in worthy causes.
I am convinced – the worthiest cause we can join today is a return to the collegiality, the pragmatism, and yes, the compromise, of the Marble Room.
Mr. President, as I leave the Senate, I am indebted to so many – to those who have helped me become the man I am today, to the colleagues who have welcomed me as a partner in the people’s business, and to the great state of Alabama which I have had the immense honor to serve.
I thank God every day for the blessing of my wife, Melissa, my children and grandchildren. Greeting every day assured by their love and support has made my work here possible.
I thank my staff in Alabama and here in Washington, who have risen to the task of serving our great state through troubling times. Their tireless dedication reminds me that there is a bright future within reach.
I thank the staff of the Senate serving here on the floor and in the cloakrooms, the U.S. Capitol Police, and all those who preserve, protect, and defend this hallowed institution.
I thank each of my colleagues for the privilege of joining them in service. The friends and working partners I have found here in the Senate give me great hope that in the right hands, this experiment in representative government will long endure.
I thank the men of principle who have served Alabama with honor for years before me – Jeff Sessions, for his example of deep reverence for this institution, and Richard Shelby, especially for his friendship and guidance during my time in the Senate.
Finally, Mr. President, I thank the people of my state. Alabama is a beautiful place, and millions of hardworking people call it home. As I look back on my career, I am most proud of the last seven years I have spent working on their behalf, both in Montgomery and here in Washington.
Mr. President, in preparing my remarks for today, I spent a lot of time in the Marble Room. I reflected on the stone that built it, and the bedrock of my hometown.
I thought about the lawmakers who frequented it years ago. I thought about the challenges they faced – their own principled stands and pragmatic negotiations. Most importantly, I thought about the common ground they found there. Off the record and away from the cameras, this space presents us with an opportunity to once again find balance.
Balance between principle and pragmatism in the Senate would reflect the very spirit of America, which is defined by balance.
The zeal for adventure that won the West and put human footsteps on the face of the Moon is balanced by a reverence for tradition and our founding principles – individual liberty, the rule of law, and the pursuit of happiness.
The entrepreneurial drive that built great cities and today drives innovators to ask “what’s next” is balanced by a solemn remembrance of the struggle and sacrifice that have paved the way.
The Senate is the sacred place that was designed to embrace this spirit of America; to lose the art of balance and compromise in this body is to lose something essentially American.
If we cannot find shared cause – shared purpose – in the quiet corners of that space across the hall, then we may never find it here on the floor of the Senate, where the critics are so quick to point out how “the doers of deeds could have done them better.” As I prepare to leave this esteemed body, I urge my colleagues, who will face many more challenges ahead, to take these words to heart.
For the sake of our nation, I urge them to return to the Marble Room.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
Quin Hillyer: Senator pens a truly Strange column that insults readers’ intelligence
Entitled “The importance of taking on corruption,” Strange’s column bragged (in effect) that “the National Association of Attorneys General asked me to deliver the keynote speech to their National Anticorruption Academy,” and then detailed all the reasons why fighting corruption supposedly is “a subject I know a lot about.”
To an extent, it’s true: Strange organized a task force that – often without his direct involvement – did prosecute, and win convictions of, a number of corrupt public officials.
The obvious reality that Strange’s column ignores is that Strange then completely undermined public confidence in the political system’s freedom from corruption. Just by allowing himself to be considered for appointment to the U.S. Senate by the same governor his own office was investigating, Strange did as much to promote public cynicism as anything in recent memory.
Even if there was no “deal,” no quid pro quo, or even no “wink and a nod,” between Strange and then-Gov. Robert Bentley, the appearance of a corrupt bargain was so obvious, so strong, and so toxic that Strange should have avoided it like the Ebola virus.
The rule is simple, indeed as simple as the rule governing sexual harassment: If you wield great authority over a person, then don’t ask, much less accept, favors from that person.
It’s even worse when you hold authority over someone who himself wields great power. Your ability to receive a truly significant favor, in such a case, is especially large – and the temptation for you to adjust accordingly how you exercise your authority over him grows tremendously.
And if it all involves public office in a republic, then the effect on public trust of any such situations should be a very large part of one’s behavioral considerations.
In his column, Strange completely, almost obtusely, misrepresented the nature of the issues at play in the Senate appointment. Here’s what he wrote:
When Jeff Sessions became United States Attorney General, I was faced with a dilemma. Governor Robert Bentley asked me to fill his seat in the Senate. I believe in serving when called and I wanted to do what was best for the people of Alabama, but Bentley was under an investigation for ethics violations. In some circumstances, I might have worried that leaving the job of Attorney General would undermine that investigation.
Earth to Strange: That wasn’t what the “worry” should have been. The assumption was not that the investigation would be undermined because Strange left it; the assumption was that the investigation would be undermined – or that Bentley would hope it would be undermined – because Bentley gave to Strange the plum job Strange seems to have wanted for his entire adult life.
People didn’t see Strange’s acceptance of the Senate job as “serving when called” but as “taking when offered.” And they certainly didn’t think it was obvious that such a problematic appointment was “what was best for the people of Alabama.”
That paragraph of Strange insults our intelligence.
Again, let’s avoid assuming there really was a corrupt bargain. Even so, for Strange to still refuse to acknowledge the serious problem of appearances here, and the importance of restoring public faith in the system at the very time when the system has been repeatedly rocked by corruption, is for him to fail to credit the essential role public trust plays in a vibrant representative democracy.
Rather than penning this column, Strange for now should have just faded into the political evening. We’re still dealing with the unwanted fallout from the Strange assumption of the Senate seat, and we aren’t yet ready to offer the temporary senator a benediction.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.
Poll results show write-in candidate Lee Busby may be a Moore election spoiler
The newest Emerson College poll shows Democrat Doug Jones pulling within just three percentage points of Republican Roy Moore in the Senate seat race.
The poll included write-in candidate Lee Busby who received 5 percent of the vote. Moore led the three with 49 percent support and Jones trailed close behind with 46 percent. Busby’s name will not appear on the December 12 special election ballot.
Why this matters: Busby may become a Moore spoiler since his supporters in the poll largely identified themselves as Republicans, said Emerson professor Spencer Kimball in a podcast.
— The survey asked 500 “very likely” voters, “If the special election for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat were today, for whom would you vote or lean towards voting?”
— The poll has a margin of error of 4.3 percent, so it could be even more of a dead heat than reported.
— A previous Emerson poll, taken before Busby announced his write-in campaign and immediately after allegations broke of Moore’s sexual misconduct, showed Moore leading Jones by 10 percentage points (55 percent to 45 percent).
— In that poll, 28 percent of voters said The Washington Post story affected their vote, while 59 percent said it had no effect on their decision.
— A new CBS / YouGov poll has 71 percent of Republican likely voters saying the allegations against Moore are false.
If Busby and Jones supporters turn out come election day, it may make just enough a difference to make Jones the winner, despite the overwhelming majority of Republican voters who do not believe the Moore allegations are true.
Quin Hillyer: Doug Jones’ ad crosses a line
Roy Moore and his team are getting a taste of their own poison this week, but that doesn’t make the poisoning justified.
Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones’ latest ad highlights three Alabama Supreme Court cases in which then-Chief Justice Moore “sided” with defendants accused of sexual crimes involving minors. The obvious implication is that Moore sympathizes with such sexual abusers because he is one.
It’s not necessarily – in fact, it’s likely not – a fair use of those cases. It is, however, the exact same sort of out-of-context (mis)use of court cases that Moore’s team engaged in earlier this year to help torpedo the possibility for Alabama’s own federal appeals court judge Bill Pryor to be nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court. It was wrong for Moore’s team to take Pryor’s cases out of context, and it is wrong for Jones’ team to do it to Moore. (Note: In one of those columns linked above, I wrote that I thought Moore’s team was behind the slams at Pryor. I later confirmed that Moore-connected lawyers indeed were helping lead the charge.)
Moore’s associates bizarrely accused Pryor of being “a strong ally of the homosexual lobby” merely because Pryor’s decisions (or dissents) in three cases happened to reach “results” favored by homosexual parties to the case. I joined some conservative legal luminaries in explaining how viciously unfair the accusation was, because in all three cases Pryor’s legal reasoning was plain for all to see, and it hewed closely to the actual facts at hand and the specific procedural issues involved.
Good judges don’t rule according to the policy results they desire, but according to how the exact language of existing law applies to the exact circumstances of the case – and, whether an observer agreed with Pryor’s conclusions or not (I disagree with one of them), it was obvious those conclusions were reached by using conservative, textualist reasoning.
Moore’s team was wrong to take the cases out of context in order to do a political hit job on Pryor.
Likewise, Jones’ team is wrong if it is taking Moore’s three cases out of context in order to do a political hit job on the judge. My preliminary analysis (not a full one yet) indicates this is likely what is happening here.
Jones’ ads highlight three cases in which Moore’s ruling favored the defendant in sexual abuse cases. Yet, just as what happened in particular with one of Pryor’s cases, all Moore did in one of the cases was argue a procedural point rather than address the merits of the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
The case involved a 37-year-old mentor at the Mobile Youth Advocate Program who had been convicted of sexual acts with two teenage girls. The case was a he-said/they-said case, without clear physical evidence. The defendant wanted to argue that the two girls’ relationship with each other, and his reporting of that relationship to their parents, led them to concoct their accusations against him. The trial judge had not allowed the defendant to mention part of those (alleged) dynamics to the jury.
The state high court split on the case. Five ruled the trial judge was right to exclude the argument; Moore and two others dissented. It obviously was a close call. To somehow insinuate that Moore’s dissent showed that he doesn’t care about child sex abuse is to also make that same insinuation against his colleagues, including the widely respected, solidly conservative Justice Glenn Murdock, who joined the dissent. That’s ludicrous.
Another case involved similar arguments about whether the accuser’s sexual history could be relevant, admissible evidence in another he-said/she-said case. Again, Moore was joined by two other justices in his dissent. In this case and the prior one, a closer parsing of the circumstances might help determine if Moore’s principles and reasoning seem correct or not, but they surely don’t, in themselves, show a weird predilection in favor of sexual criminals.
The third case looks more questionable, especially since Moore was the lone wolf arguing the technical legal point favored by the defendant while all eight of his Supreme Court colleagues ruled otherwise. The case involved a 17-year-old male with supervisory authority who sexually abused a 12-year-old boy. Moore agreed that the conviction on one count should stand, but argued that the other count should be dismissed because the particular statute used for that conviction applied only if a full adult used “force,” rather than a mere position of authority, in a case in which there was “abuse of children by other children.” In his explanation, though, Moore took care to say that such behavior is “an abhorrent crime and should be strictly punished” – but only under terms specified by the Legislature.
To use the vernacular: Ick. Yuck. This is clearly a case where Moore’s legal hair-splitting, whether legally correct or not, makes one just want to look away.
Still, all of which leaves the question open as to whether Jones is fair to insinuate that Moore’s overall record shows Moore to be strangely and uniquely sympathetic to those who commit sexual abuse. The New York Times analyzed the record and found that while “he sided with the accused in sex abuse cases more often than his colleagues did,” there also were three cases in which he did just the opposite, siding with prosecutors in sex-abuse cases while a majority of his colleagues sided with the accused.
And the Times – surely not a Moore sympathizer – noted that Moore’s concern for defendants applied not just for accused sexual abusers but also for the procedural rights of defendants in many other sorts of cases too. In addition, reported the Times, “Mr. Moore has expressed concern over the years about mandatory life sentences for nonviolent crimes, and once suggested that a death row inmate might not be getting a fair shake in the court system.”
Matthew Clark, a lawyer who worked for Moore, explained to the New York paper: “He had no love for criminals, but he believed that every defendant was entitled to due process of law. He saw many cases where the defendants, especially young black men, would be convicted solely on very weak circumstantial evidence.”
Clearly, the overall context does not support the insinuations in Jones’ ad. Even if one believes the somewhat credible allegations about Moore’s own long-ago sexual behavior, that doesn’t mean his rulings as a judge have shown bizarrely pro-abuser bias.
Considering the intellectually dishonest way that Moore’s legal henchmen attacked Judge Pryor earlier this year, it might be argued that the Jones ad is a sort of cosmic justice and that Moore is being hoisted with his own petard. This initial response is morally untenable. The kindergartener’s wisdom is also profoundly correct: Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Moore has flaws, maybe major ones. But this ad unfairly invents a flaw that probably doesn’t exist.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.
Moore Campaign: Jones would crush small businesses in Alabama
Last Friday, the Moore Campaign blasted Doug Jones for supporting “Bernie Sanders style economics” that would crush small businesses, stifle the free market, and make it harder for everyday Alabamians to put food on the table. This comes just as Governor Ivey declared last Saturday “Small Business Saturday” as a day for Alabamians to recognize, appreciate, and support small businesses.
“Small businesses account for around two-thirds of American jobs,” Judge Roy Moore said last week. “Alabama business owners and entrepreneurs work hard every day to provide quality products, services, and jobs to our communities and they deserve to reap all of the benefits of a free market that is unencumbered by the burdens of the federal government. As your next United States Senator, I will work hard to roll back unnecessary government regulations, remove tax rules that punish small business owners, and join the President in promoting economic policies that put the needs of the American people first.”
“The Bernie Sanders style economics of Doug Jones are straight from the socialist playbook and would be the destruction of small businesses in Alabama,” Moore Campaign chairman, Bill Armistead said on Friday afternoon. “Jones wants more government, more taxes, more regulation, and more free stuff – all on taxpayer dimes. Judge Roy Moore wants less government, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a booming economy that will create jobs and make life easier for all Alabamians who are simply trying to pay the bills.”
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 25 million and 27 million small businesses in the United States provide 60 to 80 percent of all the nation’s jobs.
(News Release/Judge Moore for Senate)
Letters to the Editor: ‘Judge Moore may be the victim here’
‘The greater good should take precedence’
Staying in the race does not speak well for Roy Moore. Even though the timing of these allegations is suspect, a true and honest man would bow out and allow room for another candidate who espouses the view of moral Republicans. The battle is lost but, not the war. To let a left wing Democrat, who does not have regard for human life, take a seat in the Senate is outrageous.
If Moore was a man of principles, he would acknowledge that his defense should take place later in court and that the greater good should take precedence.
I am not interested in his guilt or his innocence. I am interested in the harm that he is doing by staying.
— Elaine Leonard, Springville
‘Judge Moore may be the victim here’
I write a weekly newspaper column. The article I wrote last week was on the Power of Forgiveness. This is one of the greatest things missing in the lives of so many and in society as a whole.
With all of the recent accusations against Judge Roy Moore, many have found themselves remembering and reliving some painful experiences in their pasts.
The thing that sticks out most about the angry posts from those who have been abused or had family that was abused….Unforgiveness.
I don’t hear in their tone, or see it in their words that they have forgiven their perpetrators.
From personal experience, and from talking and counseling with numerous people over the years….I can tell you that the pain of abuse of any kind will never be lessened until you find it in your heart to forgive.
I don’t know if any of the allegations against Roy Moore are true or not. I wasn’t there, and am still wondering about the timing of all of this.
Many of you are seeing the women who have come forth as the victims….not leaving open the possibility that Judge Moore may be the victim here. Until I see proof positive that there have been crimes committed, then I will not jump on the “Bash Roy Moore” bandwagon.
One thing I can promise you….I will NEVER vote for anyone who supports abortion on demand…..transgender bathrooms, and same sex “marriage”. So I would never vote for someone like Doug Jones.
One question begs to be answered in all of this as well…..
Did the Washington Post make the same effort to uncover any kind of “dirt” on Doug Jones, and if they had found some, would they have been just as willing to expose it?
— Garry Lovette, Muscle Shoals
‘I do not have respect for those that defend Roy Moore without good evidence’
Conservative Christians in Alabama face a horrible choice. Do we elect someone who could potentially be a pedophile (which goes against everything we stand for), or do we allow someone who is against everything we stand for to be elected instead?
Neither option is appealing, and I can respect either choice.
I cannot respect my fellow Christians who assert Roy Moore’s innocence without evidence backing them up.
Perhaps some are not convinced by the testimony against Moore. That would justify remaining uncertain as to his guilt or innocence, which in turn might permit voting for him. Fair enough. But some go further and assert that Moore is definitely not guilty and is being persecuted.
Obviously, Moore is legally innocent until proven guilty. But is it unreasonable to believe that OJ Simpson is a murderer or Michael Jackson was a pedophile despite neither having been convicted? I think not.
As a conservative Christian, I do not have respect for those that defend Roy Moore without good evidence. We need Christians who proclaim that evil is evil, and is not to be tolerated no matter who is committing it. We do not need Christians who defend an alleged sexual miscreant merely because a) they are so committed to maintaining our political voice that they’ll sacrifice their values to keep it, or b) they so idolize a mere man that they won’t admit he might be a hypocrite.
Neither is compatible with my understanding of Biblical Christianity. If you have evidence that Moore is innocent, please do defend him—on the basis of the evidence. Otherwise, please don’t sacrifice your integrity; it reflects on all of us.
Everyone is fallible, and I for one will not violate my conscience by asserting Moore’s innocence without good reason…
So help me God.
— Theo, Bessemer
(Editor’s Note: This article is part of a guest series. We invite conservatives in Alabama to submit their opinions about the Roy Moore issue. Please find submission guidelines here.)
Letters to the Editor: ‘There is a lot on the line here, Mr. Moore…perhaps more than your political aspirations’
‘Governor Kay Ivey, you must stop this, you have the power.’
I am a conservative Republican, Christian, wife, mother of three, and grandmother of five. As a voter, I will be disenfranchised if Roy Moore stays on the ballot in December.
We live in a society which has already decided Moore is guilty. Even if Moore is innocent, his reputation is forever tainted.
In addition, Moore is entirely too controversial to be effective as Alabama’s senator. Are you tired of being stereotyped as an Alabamian? Leave Roy Moore on the ballot, elect him and the stereotyping will only get worse. Leave him on the ballot and elect him if you want more partisan bickering in Washington, D.C. Get ready for lawsuits and possibly criminal charges surrounding Moore whether he’s innocent or guilty. That is what will be in the news, not the great things he could accomplish for the people of Alabama.
Here are my options as a conservative: (1) I can vote for Roy Moore, who at best is a judge who broke the law when he would not remove the Ten Commandments from public property (don’t get me wrong – I wish everyone would treasure the Ten Commandments as much as I do – but he still broke the law as a judge), and at worst is also a pedophile, or (2) I can vote for Doug Jones – who is running as a Pelosi National Democrat and who is a zealot about abortion!
What kind of choice is that? Governor Kay Ivey, you must stop this, you have the power. Delay the special election and let’s put up a candidate worthy of the vote of all conservative Republicans!
— VJD, Jefferson County
‘Why does every close election in the past few years include last minute revelations about… the Republican candidate?’
How many times have we seen the standard Democrat playbook in action? Hire a bunch of liberal sycophants to tearfully relate how they were molested decades ago. Time it so that facts do not emerge until after the election. Disgusting, reprehensible and totally dishonest, but what would you expect from autocratic socialists who despise Christianity, personal liberty and anything American?
The Senate is already dominated by socialists and RINOs. Doug Jones is a true blue Democrat, with all the morally bankrupt atrocities that entails. Already, most of President Trump’s initiatives are defeated in the Senate by the Democrat/RINO coalition. The few that pass require VP Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. If Doug Jones is elected, the Senate is lost. It is that simple.
Roy Moore has been in the public eye for decades and has been subject to more than his share of negative scrutiny. Where were these molested ladies then? Why does every close election in the past few years include last minute revelations about the alleged lack of character of the Republican candidate? The accusations would be laughable if it were not for the large numbers of people who should know better giving them credence. It is time for voters to get a firm grasp on the obvious and realize that Democrats will stoop to any level in their diabolical quest to establish autocratic socialism in the United States.
— Roger J Handley, PhD, Berry
‘There is a lot on the line here, Mr. Moore…perhaps more than your political aspirations.’
I can’t catch a glimpse of the time 9:11 without having flashbacks to that morning in 2001 before my sophomore genetics class at UAH when I watched the drama unfold at Ground Zero. I can’t listen to Miles Davis and John Coltrane answer back and forth throughout the ten minutes of “On Green Dolphin Street” without thinking back to my wife bathing our infant son in the kitchen sink, as I sat at the table studying for my OB/Gyn final exam in medical school.
Now, thanks to Mr. Roy Moore, I can’t think about the Ten Commandments without a visceral reaction (much like Elaine’s “full-body dry heave” on Seinfeld). On one hand, God’s Law does seem to garner a sick feeling of inadequacy. On the other hand, it’s a shame I can’t seem to separate what should be a standard of personal conviction from a total stranger’s stage prop for political gain.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Mr. Moore isn’t a Christian, per se. What I am saying is, now is his time to show if the dross of political temptations will be sifted away from the gold of a self-professed devout Christian life. In other words, a mark of a true Christian man is the fruit he bears during times of tribulation.
If the allegations are even partially true, I would ask that he put aside personal ambition and speak with complete honesty (for example of what not to do, I’ll cite the Bentley Squeeze Play of 2016). If the allegations are false, I would ask that he vehemently deny all accusations with no misleading statements like “that is outside of my customary behavior” or “I don’t recall ever having done that.” There is a lot on the line here, Mr. Moore…perhaps more than your political aspirations.
— Andrew Hodges, MD, Scottsboro
(Editor’s Note: This article is part of a guest series. We invite conservatives in Alabama to submit their opinions about the Roy Moore issue. Please find submission guidelines here.)
Letter to Editor: ‘What’s a man to do when any person anywhere can make accusations with little or no evidence?’
In just over a month before the Senate election, multiple women came out with information regarding Judge Moore.
I use the word information because not all the women accused Judge Moore of anything. There were, by my count, three accusations. Two were juveniles when they allege Judge Moore assaulted them, one was an adult.
Mr. Bryars is right in his 19 November editorial. These women are deserving of the same love and respect God commands of us. Those of us who have not done that should be ashamed.
As bad as the three accusations are, we may never know the truth. Should they be believed simply because the women made them? Some have said “Yes, absolutely!” Others have said, “Not at all,” for reasons elucidated in many articles.
There are, I think, two much more problematic concerns here that seem to have been lost in the cacophony. In no particular order, the first is the assault on men generally. The second is McConnell et al. suggesting that if elected, the Senate will simply remove him. Both are significant and both run counter to what America stands for.
As Megan Fox notes on PJmedia, there is a presumption of innocence. And, not just in a court of law. What about society? What’s a man to do when any person, anywhere, can make accusations with little or no evidence? This is a fundamental tenet of the American experiment. Men, and sometimes women, are all too often destroyed by rumor, innuendo and accusations. This must stop!
As for the call of many in the Senate for removal, do we want that? Do we want the Senate to decide who is worthy to be a senator, in their eyes?
If We The People allow that, then everything this country is and was founded on is lost. Much more so than anything Judge Moore did or did not do.
Jeffrey P. Rush
(Editor’s Note: This article is part of a guest series. We invite conservatives in Alabama to submit their opinions about the Roy Moore issue. Please find submission guidelines here.)
Quin Hillyer: ‘If Jones and Moore are true statesmen, they’ll both withdraw’
The people of Alabama would be well served if both Roy Moore and Doug Jones withdraw from the December 12 election, with both major parties formally acquiescing, effectively forcing the election to be postponed until November of next year.
Both candidates, or either, could run again next year, but without the circus atmosphere, confusion, and doubts engendered by post-primary allegations of super-serious moral transgressions by Moore.
Elections are meant to serve the public interest, not the ambitions of candidates.
Yet if the election is held in three weeks, almost any result will be seen as at least a somewhat illegitimate reflection of the actual will of the Alabama majority.
For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s assume that the two worst allegations against Moore – the disrobing and sexual touching of a 14-year-old, and the forceful groping and threatening of a 16-year-old – are not true. What remains is the likelihood, not even directly denied by Moore, that when he was in his late 20s and early 30s he regularly trolled the mall at least for older teens, whom he persisted in pursuing even after some of the girls/young women initially demurred. So many sources have independently described these habits of Moore’s that the odds they are untrue are very low.
If so, several considerations apply. First, even apart from what some describe as “creepiness” (a subjective standard indeed), behavior can be seriously wrong, and perhaps disqualifyingly immoral, without being illegal. It is one thing for a 32-year-old to happen to be impressed with a single 18-year-old who seems emotionally and intellectually mature, and to ask her out with her parents’ permission, and treat her like a gentleman treats a lady. (Such was one of the stories told about Moore.)
It is another thing entirely to regularly target girls or young women in that age range, including perhaps those under 18 even if technically over the legal “age of consent.” The latter behavior, if true, is quite arguably categorizable as predatory.
These highly credible stories (again, making no judgment on the two worst allegations) were completely unknown to almost every Alabama Republican voter during the two primary elections. They are of a nature disturbing enough that a sizable percentage of such voters might have voted differently if they had known. Back then, they did not have a full picture of Roy Moore. If indeed the new picture is true, it is not fair to those voters to present them with an entirely different choice than the one they thought they were giving themselves when they cast primary votes.
(And, of course, if the story involving the 14-year-old is true, then that alone should be utterly disqualifying of Moore. If it and some of the other more serious allegations are false, though, they are collectively one of the most horrid smears in American political memory.)
The only way to be sure voters have a fair choice is for Moore to run again in a new primary under his own power (or to choose not to do so), after having plenty of time to clear his name, and with voters having the chance to weigh all the information over a significant period of time.
Otherwise, Republican voters will have been unfairly treated, with their choices limited under less-than-fully-true pretenses. And they now face a choice between a nominee they now may believe is morally disqualified and a Democratic nominee whose beliefs they find utterly untenable.
That’s why it would be fair and reasonable for Moore to pull out of this election.
By logical extension, Jones would be right to do the same.
In considering this second assertion, let’s stipulate that if the election were only about what’s fair to Jones, the assertion isn’t entirely valid. It is decidedly not Jones’ fault that his opponent’s campaign may be imploding. Jones has run a marvelously astute political campaign with a brilliant series of TV ads, and he does seem to have an admirable record of public service. Serious candidates considered long shots enter races like this one hoping and knowing that their only likelihood of success will come from extraordinary luck joining their own competent campaigns – so of course they shouldn’t be punished when such luck does break their way.
On the other hand, this isn’t just ordinary luck, and his opponent isn’t facing just the ordinary sort of political allegations. No possible issue is more fraught with moral revulsion than the sexual abuse of a minor. If you’re Doug Jones, how could you live with yourself in knowing that a primary factor in your election is that a substantial portion of voters who otherwise would never vote for you are doing so because they believe (accurately or not) that your opponent is… well, a child molester?
And if you are Jones and you truly mean the election to be not about what is fair for you, but instead about doing right by the voters, then how can you countenance making Alabamans vote under such duress, without having a straight-up choice between two men and governmental philosophies hindered by accusations of ephebophilia?
If Jones really is who Alabamans want for their senator, he should be able to win in a “normal” election in 2018, not just in a morally compromised special election on December 12 of this year.
The only people who really ought to matter here are the ordinary citizens of Alabama. The “win-win” call is for both current nominees to pull out; for the election to thus be cancelled by mutual consent; for current appointee Luther Strange to serve through 2018 but promise that he won’t himself run next year (because he already has been rejected by the voters); for Jones to run again in 2018; and for Moore and state Republicans to decide what is best for themselves once the immediate smoke has cleared.
Is this practical? In today’s political world, not really. But would it be the best scenario for Alabama? Most certainly.
If Jones and Moore are true statesmen, they’ll both withdraw.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.
Quin Hillyer: The best Moore replacement is …
So…. Who comes next?
Without prejudging the fall-out from the sex-related allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, it still is obvious that a chance exists he may withdraw from the race. While state law seems clear that it’s too late to replace Moore on the ballot, some highly informed sources say precedent exists to do just that. Of course, there also is the possibility of a write-in campaign — although if the person being urged to mount a write-in effort is current Senate fill-in Luther Strange, that is one of the worst ideas in the history of ideas. Voters rejected Strange overwhelmingly already, and he is a long way from rehabilitating his image.
All sorts of possibilities suggest themselves for a short-notice GOP replacement. Most of them are current officeholders. I think that’s a bad idea, under the circumstances. If a current officeholder were somehow to win, that would in turn open up his or her seat and start yet another mad rush to fill that one. Alabamans should be sick of elections, though, especially expensive special elections in a time of tight state budgets.
Plus, almost every current officeholder comes with detractors or even outright enemies within the party. To mount a replacement effort or a complicated write-in effort, a party must do so with a unifying candidate, not a controversial one, if it is to have any chance of victory.
So here’s my suggestion as the best possible choice in this politically dire situation: Republican state chair Terry Lathan.
Lathan and her husband Jerry of course are well known, longtime Republican activists and party builders. As state chair, Terry Lathan has shown an ability to keep people unified, to bridge the existing divides within the party, to work as an honest broker for all sides and factions.
Lathan is a principled conservative; she is whip-smart; she is vivacious. She is an excellent public speaker, energetic, and organizationally competent to the Nth degree. She already knows a lot of the big-time players in Washington, but is clearly an Alabaman first and always, not a tool of DC insiders. In many ways she could “hit the ground running” in the Senate, without business or current legislative affairs elsewhere to untangle.
She would represent Alabama with honor. And, while “identity politics” ordinarily should not be a consideration, it is just reality that it would help the GOP right now to have a woman running, if indeed Moore steps down due to charges related to mistreatment of women (or girls).
I’ve known the Lathans for nearly 20 years. They are good people. And Terry Lathan has the right stuff to be a star.
Lathan for Senate: You heard it here first.
Hell or High Water: Roy Moore won’t withdraw so Republicans across Alabama are seeking options
If we know one thing about Judge Roy Moore it’s this: he’s not going to willingly step aside and allow the political establishment to place someone else’s name on the ballot.
If he goes, it’ll be the same way Moore was removed from the bench – by force of law.
That’s why Republican insiders across Alabama were up late into the night Thursday trading emails, texts and telephone calls asking each other the same question: How can the party legally replace Roy Moore on the ballot?
Here are some of the options, however remote, that we learned about overnight:
— It’s too late: A spokesman for the Alabama secretary of state said “it was too late” to replace any name appearing on the December 12 ballot.
Here’s the law: “Any amendment filed after the 76th day before a primary or a general election shall be accepted by the judge of probate or the Secretary of State but shall not be cause for reprinting of the ballots,” according to the statute. “The name of a candidate who is the subject of the amendment and who is disqualified by a political party or who has withdrawn as a candidate shall remain on the ballot, not be replaced by the name of another candidate, and the appropriate canvassing board shall not certify any votes for the candidate.”
— It’s not too late: Some say that the state Republican executive committee has the power to replace a candidate on the ballot in extraordinary circumstances, even within days of an election. This may have been done in a state senate race in Mobile County in 2004 when the Republican nominee died shortly before the election. The replacement went on to win.
Others speculate the party could withdraw support and thereby void all votes for Moore, a move that could be seen as leverage to force him to withdraw and be replaced.
Talk radio airwaves were crackling with such speculation yesterday afternoon.
“With the election just more than a month away, the Alabama Republican Party Executive committee must immediately launch an investigation into these disturbing claims,” said Leland Whaley, host of the most listened to political talk show in the state, Talk 99.5 in Birmingham. “To do less would leave Alabama with a ballot crisis and potentially a botched election.”
— Light the torch and burn it all down: Former New Jersey Senator Robert “The Torch” Torricelli withdrew 35 days before his election in 2002 because of a scandal. That state’s supreme court ruled that even though the date to replace a name had passed (their limit is 51 days before an election), the ease of replacing ballots and the interest of the people voting on someone who’d actually serve in the office outweighed the statute. An exception was made, even though some hated the precedent it set.
If the party withdraws its support for Moore, could a similar argument be made to replace the ballots with another candidate’s name?
— The Guvs’ in Charge: Others believe that Governor Kay Ivy, who holds the power to call a special election, could simply postpone it and appoint another interim senator until such an election is held.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Ivy said. “I will hold judgment until we know the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth and will make their own decisions.”
— Charlie Graddick 2.0: A few are even thinking of launching a write-in campaign for the sitting senator who Moore defeated in the primary run-off, Luther Strange.
Luther Strange *is* eligible as a write-in. The "sore loser" law does not prevent primary election losers from running as general election write-in candidates. From the Alabama SOS page: https://t.co/DohrR02svX pic.twitter.com/SvSxe6dTwh
— Derek T. Muller (@derektmuller) November 9, 2017
The folks over at the Jones for Senate headquarters love that last option.
Exit question: How could a pro-abortion extremist get elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama?
The same way an unknown farmer could become the first Republican governor of Alabama since reconstruction.
The other party blew it.
Ted Cruz Endorses Roy Moore for Senate
On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced his support for Roy Moore as Alabama’s next senator. Cruz said that he needs more principled conservative allies like Moore in Washington, and, unlike the Democrat candidate, Moore will proudly defend the rights of Alabamians and Americans alike.
“This December, the People of Alabama have a clear choice. They can choose a liberal Democrat, who will stand with Chuck Schumer to raise taxes, weaken our military, open our border, and undermine our constitutional rights. Or, they can choose to elect Judge Roy Moore, a conservative who will proudly defend Alabama values.
I strongly urge the voters to elect Judge Roy Moore. Judge Moore has a lifelong passion for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and he has the courage of his convictions.
In the Senate, we need reinforcements; we desperately need strong conservatives who will stand up to the Washington status quo.
Please join me in supporting Judge Moore on December 12.”
In response to the endorsement, Moore remarked:
“Ted Cruz has been a stalwart defender of our constitutional rights. I appreciate his strong endorsement and I look forward to collaborating with him on proposals to strengthen the U.S. military, cut spending, and lower taxes on American families and businesses.”
Cruz’s endorsement comes as conservative leaders across the country are coming to Moore’s aid. It seems the party is doing everything it can to ensure Moore defeats Democrat Doug Jones on December 12.
State Senator Tim Melson Announces Bid For Second Term
Earlier today Republican Senator Tim Melson announced his intent to seek a second term in the Alabama State Senate.
A native Alabamian, Melson represents Lauderdale, Limestone and Madison Counties. He received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and before his first term in the Senate, he spent nearly 20 years as a practicing anesthesiologist at Helen Keller Hospital.
In a statement addressing his candidacy, the Senator Melson said, “When I ran in 2014, I wanted to help bring more jobs and economic development to North Alabama.We needed a pro-business state senator who would be a real advocate for our area in Montgomery.Working with our local delegation, I made sure that Hwy 43 was expanded and I’ve worked with economic development officials in Limestone, Lauderdale, and Madison counties. There is a lot of excitement around the upcoming Lauderdale workforce development center and the adjacent agricultural multipurpose facility. These facilities will be an economic boost for the area. The workforce development center will help improve our workforce and match people with good-paying jobs. The agricultural multipurpose facility will lead to more local jobs and more tourism for our economy.”
He also made clear that there was more work to be done. Highlighting his fight to uphold conservative ideals, Melson touted his record of protecting the second amendment, opposing Obamacare, and fighting for the rights of the unborn. “My record is clear that I have been strong on those issues. I hope the people of North Alabama will give me the chance to continue representing them,” said Melson.
Aside from his Senate duties, Melson is a crop farmer and cattleman hobbyist. He’s been married to his wife Lynn for 37 years, and they have three children and four grandchildren.
Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon Endorses Roy Moore
Roy Moore continues to rack up endorsements from major Republican figures ahead of the December 12th special election. On Wednesday, his campaign announced the endorsement of Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia). McCutcheon believes that Moore is the only candidate to fill Jeff Session’s shoes.
“I am pleased to add my name to the continually-growing list of those endorsing Judge Roy Moore in his bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions,” McCutcheon said. “Judge Moore is the only candidate remaining in the race who holds the same conservative beliefs and moral values that most Alabamians share, and he is the only one who will follow in the footprints that Jeff Sessions left behind.”
“The fact that noted liberal Democrats like Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are working feverishly to elect Judge Moore’s opponent offers concrete proof that Doug Jones opposes President Trump’s reform agenda and embraces Barack Obama’s ultra-leftist positions on issues like Obamacare, abortion, immigration, and gun control,” McCutcheon observed. “The liberal course that Doug Jones would chart for our nation directly contradicts the mainstream conservative views of average Alabamians.”
“For these reasons, Judge Moore has my firm support and my prayerful hopes for his successful election on December 12th.”
McCutcheon’s endorsement adds to an every-growing list for Moore that includes state leaders such as Del Marsh and Tripp Pittman, celebrities like Chuck Norris and Sarah Palin, and Elected Officials such as Mo Brooks and Mark Meadows. It seems Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to show support for their candidate.
Fox News Releases New Poll Claiming Moore and Jones in a Dead Heat
As reported by The Hill, Fox News has released a new poll suggesting that Roy Moore and Doug Jones are virtually tied in the race for Alabama senate at 42 percent of the vote a piece.
The poll also found that 11 percent of voters were unsure of who they were voting for, while another three percent responded “other.” Meanwhile, the poll found that 42 percent of Moore voters expressed that they had some doubts about the candidate, as opposed to 48 percent who said they strongly supported the Republican.
On the Democrat’s side, the poll found that just 28 percent of Jones’ supporters had doubts about their candidate. However, 21 percent of his voters said they were simply voting against Moore and not necessarily for Jones.
Additionally, the poll claimed that only 77 percent of Republicans were likely to support Moore, as opposed to 85 percent of Democrats who were likely to support Jones. It also found that Alabama voters are split on their opinion of President Trump, with 48 percent seeing him positively and 47 percent seeing him negatively.
These findings represent a dramatic departure from previous outcomes in recent Alabama elections. Alabama elected Donald Trump by a 28 point margin and nominated Moore as a slap to the face to establishment Republicans, making even the most casual political observers incredulous to these findings.
So what do we make of this Fox News poll?
According to Breitbart News, the methodology skewed the results. Breitbart points out that two research firms contributed to the poll: Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company. Their data “reveals not only the strange questions asked per group but also the small sample size, the overreliance (and need for correction) on cell vs. landline users (i.e., traditionally younger vs. traditionally older voters).”
Moreover, Anderson Robbins is run by Christopher Anderson, a Democrat strategist who most notably worked for John Kerry. Shaw & Company, on the other hand, is run by Daron Shaw. Shaw has had a long track record of promoting establishment GOP candidates such as Lindsay Graham and Bob Corker. The point is, both of these firms are likely predisposed to give Democrats a sense of hope that Doug Jones can defeat Roy Moore.
While polls can be insightful, most are conducted with the desired outcome in mind.
Alabama Congressman Will Serve As Negotiator For Annual Defense Bill
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Bradley Byrne will sit on the House conference committee for the 2018 National Authorization Act (NDAA).
The NDAA is the apparatus that outlines the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense. Passed annually since 1961, the NDAA is a critical piece of legislation that provides the military with the resources they need to adequately protect against foreign aggression.
In a statement from Rep. Byrne, he said “Given the ever-increasing range of threats facing our nation, it is vital our military has the resources and tools necessary to defend our country and deter aggression around the globe. The conference committee must ensure adequate funding for the men and women who serve in our armed forces and work to grow the size and capabilities of the U.S. Navy.”
Two separate bills were signed by the House and Senate earlier this year. Based on parliamentary rules, a conference must be held amongst the separate bodies to decide on a single version of the bill. Rep. Byrne will sit on the House’s conference, helping negotiate with the Senate team.
Sen. Del Marsh to Serve as Honorary Starter at Talladega
According to ESPN, Alabama Senator Del Marsh will be waving the green flag this Sunday as the honorary starter of this year’s 500 Monster Energy’s NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway.
Marsh is currently serving his second term as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He represents Senate District 12, which encompasses Calhoun County and portions of Talladega and Clay counties. Marsh has been known as an active figure in the Senate, serving on various committees, including serving as Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility and Accounting committee. In addition to his political activity, Marsh has been very successful in business. He is a past owner of Industrial Plant Company and Aerospace Catalogs, as well as a past director of Colonial Bank.
Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway, is excited to have Marsh participate in the festivities.
“We are thrilled to welcome Senator Marsh as the Honorary Starter and have him wave the green flag for the start of the Alabama 500. The support and work that he does for citizens of Calhoun, Talladega, and Clay counties is second to none and we are proud to recognize him at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track for this special event.”
Marsh will no doubt be presiding over a historic race in the history of NASCAR. The Alabama 500 is the second race in the Round of 12 of NASCAR’S Playoffs, as well as the final start for six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. In anticipation of Earnhardt’s final start, Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed Sunday as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day.
NASCAR’s most competitive venue never fails to disappoint, and Sunday’s race is shaping up to be extra special. To purchase your tickets for the Alabama 500, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com